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IDAAN Management Issues; IDAAN Director Under Fire for 'Marginal Barrios' Commentary

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The Director of IDAAN, is taking a lot of heat for his comments in the National Assembly yesterday when he blamed a water shortage on people who live in "marginal barrios" filling and emptying plastic swimming pools.

Twitter is alive with retorts. Hashtag #SoyMarginal


This one was passed on by Roger Bellido.


Edited by Keith Woolford
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Government shelters from plastic pools storm

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PANAMA’S  Government  has distanced itself from the ill-chosen remarks of the director of the country’s Water and Sewage Authority (IDAAN), which raised a storm of criticism on social networks and among lawmakers he addressed in the National Assembly,

The Communications Secretariat issued a statement that the words of  Juan Felipe De La Iglesia  “Do not represent the position, style or thoughts of the Government of the Republic of Panama.”

“We understand the concern of the director of Idaan for the better use of drinking water in the country and we regret that the way of expressing it has not been the most correct “, says statement.

The controversial words of the director came  during his appearance before the National Assembly

In one of his responses to a question  De La Iglesia said: “We have an epidemic of pools in the slums “where some residents squander water every day with the uncontrolled filling of plastic pools.”

De La Iglesia proposed to the deputies that they legislate to regulate the use of plastic pools that are in the “marginal neighborhoods” of all the districts of the country.

The words of the director were broadcast live on the television channel of the Assembly and  even jarred some of his audience

The independent deputy Ana Matilde Gómez fired back: “It’s a matter of education, not of social status.”

The deputy said that we must educate people about consumption and “not legislate for the poor neighborhoods”.

De La Iglesia later issued an apology for his “unfortunate words.”



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Water authority owed millions  as consumers over-use

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Panama consumes 482 gallons of water per person per day three times the average of the rest of the countries in Latin America, but are lax  in paying according to figures from the  Public Services Authority (ASEP).

The statistics were published just days after  Juan Felipe De Iglesia Director of Panama’s water and sewer authority (IDAAN)   ignited  a  storm of protest when  he  said during  a presentation to the country’s lawmakers that:  “We have a swimming pool epidemic in the slums”, referring to the use of plastic paddling pools by low-income citizens.

But the ASEP figures show that that people in “marginalized communities”  are a small part of the problem.

Some  103 gallons per day per person are consumed in residential zones but in stores, the figure climbs to 1,339 gallons per day, to 6,052 gallons in the government sector and to 30,993 in the industrial sector.

The highest average consumption is in the province of Colón where In homes  124 gallons per person are consumed every day. The average, including all sectors, is 700 gallons of water per capita per day.

In addition to high consumption challenges, the Idaan also has a  multi-millionaire dollar debt to collect. The institution started the year with a delinquent portfolio of more than $75 million, of which 81% belongs to commercial establishments and residential areas.The rest comes from the government sector.

IDAAN has become a whipping boy for water problems but is hampered by collection glitches, leaving it constantly in the red.

Currently, they must collect from some 565,000 customers throughout the country, a process that becomes difficult, and even dangerous for officials, within red zones reports La Prensa.

The Idaan has implemented an aggressive collection plan in 2018 to remedy the situation.

With hundreds of water cuts to defaulters so far this year. The most significant was in January when 193 water cuts were made in the city of Panama to collect a delinquency of more than half a million dollars.

In February, more than 100 cuts were made in Coclé province  to recover  more than $50,000

In Herrera, 587 water cuts have been made due to delinquency during the first three months of 2018. reducing delinquency by 6.36%, with payment agreements to settle debts.



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